Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Winner is . . .


We had a postcard perfect day for the race.

Phil had a plan and executed it perfectly. He caught on to a fast group of riders right at the start, and held on to their wheels to get a pull for the 7 miles before the real climbing starts. He was smart about selecting a group that was just strong enough to give him an advantage, but not so fast that he pushed himself into his heart rate red-zone.

Well done, Phil!! You hold the family bragging rights for the Mt Evans Hill Climb.

2009 results (approximate – official results haven’t been posted yet):

Phil 2:43
Joanne 2:47


In 2004 our friend Jean rode the Mt Evans Hill Climb. Phil and I had never even considered riding it, assuming you had to be a “real” racer to participate. But after Jean’s daring adventure, we learned there is a Citizens category for riders without race licenses who still want to challenge themselves.

So, in 2005, we entered the race. Jean had completed the course the prior year in 3 hours and 50 minutes. We used that time as a baseline, and both just hoped to finish in under 4 hours. [Some perspective – the race record is held by Tom Danielson, who rides for the Garmin Slipstream professional team. Tom’s record time? 1 hour and 41 minutes. Holy crap.]

After the race was underway, we realized we could have aimed for 3 hours – but our early pacing threw us off. Still we surprised ourselves by how well we did that year (that was the first year we finished Leadville, too).

2005 results:
Phil 3:14:22
Joanne 3:06:42

In 2006 we rode again – but it was an “off” year in our Leadville schedule, so we weren’t in top shape. Phil pushed himself really hard, but I took it reasonably easy and looked at it more as a supported ride (like the Triple Bypass) rather than as a race – which is evident in our respective results.

2006 results:
Phil 3:05:20
Joanne 3:23:13

2007 – a Leadville year – found us in good shape and intent on breaking the 3 hour barrier. Phil’s need for a “bio break” just barely kept him from finishing in under 3 hours – rats.

2007 results:
Phil 3:01:10
Joanne 2:55:08

2008 – let’s be honest – I was fat. It hurt. ‘Nuff said.

2008 results:
Phil 3:12:20
Joanne 3:25:13

Which brings us to today’s race. Many things became clear today:

(1) Wife Beater Bike #1 (Phil’s Sampson Diablo road bike) has earned its name;

(2) Phil is as slim, fit & motivated as he’s ever been in the time I’ve known him (we met in 2000);

(3) When Phil is determined, he is a force to contend with. He was determined to beat me to the top of Mt Evans today, and was willing to put himself in the hurt locker in order to do that;

(4) Ultimately, I am not a bike racer. Bike racers are willing to endure untold pain, suffering and sacrifice to win an event. I am a bike rider. I like to ride my bike. I don’t really like to suffer and turn myself inside out.

I rode hard today. I’m proud of my new personal best time, even though I missed my goal by about 2 minutes.
When I set that goal it was what, in the sales world, is called a “stretch objective” - something well beyond what I expected to achieve. It gave me something to aim for beyond my expected reach and you never know – I might have surprised myself.

If I was a bike racer, I would have achieved that goal – it would have taken a bit more attentiveness and an incremental increase in my level of effort to hold a faster rider’s wheel. But I’m not and I didn’t, and I’m okay with that.

I’m incredibly proud of Phil, who set a difficult goal and was willing to suffer to achieve it. He’s the Mountain Goat . . . for 2009.

1 comment:

  1. Don't believe a word; gave him the Mt. Goat to later take the Lion. Nice work. Thanks for the write-up.